Police want to identfy stampeders from Wal-Mart video

posted at 11:56 am on November 29, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Police in Valley Stream have begun reviewing videotape from the Wal-Mart store in which an employee died as hundreds of people stampeded into the store.  They want to identify the people who trampled Jdimytai Damour to death, apparently with an eye towards prosecution, but that seems like an impossible task for a variety of reasons:

Police were reviewing video from surveillance cameras in an attempt to identify who trampled to death a Wal-Mart worker after a crowd of post-Thanksgiving shoppers burst through the doors at a suburban store and knocked him down.

Criminal charges were possible, but identifying individual shoppers in Friday’s video may prove difficult, said Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, a Nassau County police spokesman.

Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers stepped over him and became irate when officials said the store was closing because of the death, police and witnesses said.

At least four other people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or minor injuries. The store in Valley Stream on Long Island closed for several hours before reopening.

Police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the Wal-Mart doors before its 5 a.m. opening at a mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the employee, identified by police as Jdimytai Damour, to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.

The problem with mobs is that, in most cases, individual actions cannot get separated from those of the crowd itself.  In this case, even if the videotape could show the individuals who trampled Damour well enough to identify them, did they intend to trample him — or did they get shoved onto him by people behind them?  How does any one individual get assigned criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt?

The reports yesterday show that Wal-Mart itself bears the bulk of the responsibility for the problem:

With 2,000 people responding to the ads for Black Friday before the doors opened, Wal-Mart should have had a significant, trained security presence on hand.  Rope lines should have been set up, instead of having people crushing up to the entrance.  Events like this need that kind of organization precisely because mobs act irrationally.

And what were the deals?  They didn’t look that significant, especially in light of what happened:

Items on sale at the Valley Stream Wal-Mart included a Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV for $798, a Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28, a Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera for $69 and DVDs such as “The Incredible Hulk” for $9.

Two thousand people rushed the entrance of Wal-Mart for that?  Perhaps Wal-Mart got legitimately surprised by the response.

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I live in westchester county, NYC’s northern suburb, and i had NO IDEA Valley Stream was such a hood place. I mean, did people see those pictures? Straight hood…LI fell offff

ernesto on November 29, 2008 at 12:01 PM

The TV seems like a decent deal. But to get so excited over it that you crush a man to death? Nuts. Prosecute the customer(s) to the fullest extent of the law (if you can identify them). Certainly not Wal-Mart’s fault, but I’m sure they’ll be the ones to get sued if when a civil suit is filed here simply because they have the most money. But the tramplers should be thrown in jail and should be sued for every penny they have.

malan89 on November 29, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Savages and thugs….Obama voters one and all! Blaminng Walmart is lame Ed, a locked door and a posted opening time should still mean something.

Healing we are Feeling!

dmann on November 29, 2008 at 12:05 PM

With 2,000 people responding to the ads for Black Friday before the doors opened, Wal-Mart should have had a significant, trained security presence on hand.

Really? That’s the take-home message?

Maybe that’s what Obama was talking about with his civilian security force. A security guard on every grocery store line.

Spirit of 1776 on November 29, 2008 at 12:11 PM

In this case, even if the videotape could show the individuals who trampled Damour well enough to identify them, did they intend to trample him — or did they get shoved onto him by people behind them? How does any one individual get assigned criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt?

Did they scream for people to stop? Did they seek help for the man they’d just trampled? Or did they just keep going? The fact that the people who trampled him didn’t immediately identify themselves (to store employees, to paramedics, to police) tells us something about them, doesn’t it?

MayBee on November 29, 2008 at 12:13 PM

But the tramplers should be thrown in jail and should be sued for every penny they have.

As Ed said, therein lies the problem. Who were the tramplers? Did the people in front of the line push him over themselves, or did the people behind them push the front people into him? Or did the people behind them push them…etc, etc ad naseum. With a giant crowd like that, it’s nearly impossible to assign individual “guilt” for something.

KSgop on November 29, 2008 at 12:14 PM

Melamine to kill the dogs and babies. Lead Paint to kill the toddlers and children. And now super low prices to kill the adults.

China knows what suckers we are!

Bicyea on November 29, 2008 at 12:15 PM

With 2,000 people responding to the ads for Black Friday before the doors opened, Wal-Mart should have had a significant, trained security presence on hand.

Yeah. It’s too much to ask that people behave like humans anymore. I know.

lorien1973 on November 29, 2008 at 12:17 PM

Did they scream for people to stop?

Scream at the 2000 bargain-crazed shoppers behind them to stop the rush? Good luck with that.

Did they seek help for the man they’d just trampled? Or did they just keep going?

Again, are you going to try and stop right there and become the next person trampled, or are you going to just try and get out of the way?

KSgop on November 29, 2008 at 12:18 PM

Who was that sick SOB who filmed the EMS doing CPR? And that skank laughing in the vid? Both of them should be arrested as well.
SICK
SICK
SICK

Bicyea on November 29, 2008 at 12:18 PM

Walmart’s not to blame. They had a “play it safe” set of discounts for BF, just enough to attract some attention, but certainly not two thousand people waiting for the opening bell.
The only winner here will be the union movement, since anything anti-Walmart plays into their game plan.

n0doz on November 29, 2008 at 12:18 PM

Again, are you going to try and stop right there and become the next person trampled, or are you going to just try and get out of the way?

I’m going to get out of the way, then go find somebody to try to help and explain what happened. I’m not going to go about my shopping or high-tail it out of the store when I’ve just helped trample some poor man to death.

MayBee on November 29, 2008 at 12:20 PM

They should have locked down the store and not let anyone leave until they identified and charged everyone of those people with manslaughter.

bj1126 on November 29, 2008 at 12:21 PM

Special message for Captain Ed before I go hunting…

GO TROJANS!!!!!

USC 42 – ND 14

Keemo on November 29, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Maybe that’s what Obama was talking about with his civilian security force. A security guard on every grocery store line.

Spirit of 1776 on November 29, 2008 at 12:11 PM

Come on. Did anyone say the government should have provided security? Give me a break. Wal-Mart has a responsibility to provide for crowd control if they intend to stage “doorbuster” sales to keep things like this from happening.

Ed Morrissey on November 29, 2008 at 12:23 PM

Wal-Mart bears a responsibility to understand the individual communities they serve.
Local law enforcement dropped the ball by not anticipating a crowd control situation.
The family of the worker who was trampled to death deserve a proper settlement.

FireBlogger on November 29, 2008 at 12:24 PM

I feel bad for the WalMart worker, but there’s a larger question…

Where’s all this money coming from?
I thought we were in a depression. This scene, minus the death of course, was repeated all around the country. People actually camped out at stores even before Thanksgiving day.

Kini on November 29, 2008 at 12:24 PM

Of course, it was George Bush’s fault. If only he cared about Wal-Mart workers, this would never have occurred. How did you people not know that.

RedSoxNation on November 29, 2008 at 12:25 PM

I live in westchester county, NYC’s northern suburb, and i had NO IDEA Valley Stream was such a hood place. I mean, did people see those pictures? Straight hood…LI fell offff

ernesto on November 29, 2008 at 12:01 PM

To defend the rest of Long Island, Valley Stream borders Rosedale, Queens….which IS “hoody”. Very few Long Islanders go west to shop at the Green Acres Mall, the complex of which the Wal Mart in the story is a part of. Mostly it is supported by the Rosedale folks who come east.

I’ll go over there during the daylight, however it’s not the safest place to be at night.

IrishGirl17 on November 29, 2008 at 12:25 PM

WalMart says that they did have additional security in place, had rope lines and cordons, but there’s also reports that the crowd surged when some unidentified WalMart employee joked that the store would open early, and then some at the front got angry when it didn’t.

The only thing that can be assured is that the family of the man killed will sue WalMart. Cold comfort though.

lawhawk on November 29, 2008 at 12:26 PM

The easiest way to find them is to get the plate #’s from the parking lot cams of the cars in the first 10 spots in every row. They were the first in line.

Bicyea on November 29, 2008 at 12:26 PM

Yeah. It’s too much to ask that people behave like humans anymore. I know.

lorien1973 on November 29, 2008 at 12:17 PM

Reading about the callouslness of those who were angry because the store was closing, they were behaving exactly like humans–that is, if one buys the premise that humans are inherently sinful and selfish.

baldilocks on November 29, 2008 at 12:27 PM

The police need to try and get the people that did this. This is just awful. Nothing can excuse what happened. Shouldn’t have taken place.

sheebe on November 29, 2008 at 12:27 PM

Come on. Did anyone say the government should have provided security? Give me a break. Wal-Mart has a responsibility to provide for crowd control if they intend to stage “doorbuster” sales to keep things like this from happening.

Ed Morrissey on November 29, 2008 at 12:23 PM

The line about civilian security force & Obama is merely for humor. I know that’s not what you were advocating.

Spirit of 1776 on November 29, 2008 at 12:29 PM

ernesto on November 29, 2008 at 12:01 PM

I live on LI, and my Grandma lives in the next town over

Stream is HOOD!

blatantblue on November 29, 2008 at 12:29 PM

The line about civilian security force & Obama is merely for humor. I know that’s not what you were advocating.

Spirit of 1776 on November 29, 2008 at 12:29 PM

Maybe I’ll need that sense of humor tonight at the Notre Dame game, huh? ;-)

Ed Morrissey on November 29, 2008 at 12:31 PM

Two thousand people rushed the entrance of Wal-Mart for that? Perhaps Wal-Mart got legitimately surprised by the response.

Then…

Wal-Mart has a responsibility to provide for crowd control if they intend to stage “doorbuster” sales to keep things like this from happening.

Perhaps they were legitimately surprised, Ed. By both the number of people and the ferocity of the crowd. You don’t get a death stampede every time you have a crowd of 2,000 people. It takes some real jerks in the crowd to turn things into a danger. Don’t let them off the hook.

MayBee on November 29, 2008 at 12:33 PM

Go Irish! Have a great time, Ed.

Jaibones on November 29, 2008 at 12:36 PM

Ed Morrissey on November 29, 2008 at 12:31 PM

It’s my fault. I should have separated the two comments with a line or something to denote the shift.

I understand your point with respect to Walmart’s responsibilities – if you create an environment, you are responsible for the safety of it. I’m also very keen, however, on the attempt to hold individuals accountable; to blame the death on the situation (not saying you are) is too close to the ‘uncovered meat’ rational. Even if no prosecutions come from video review, I support the effort to hold people accountable. At the very least maybe it will make people think.

Anyway, again, my bad. I should have separated the two thoughts and been more clear.

Spirit of 1776 on November 29, 2008 at 12:36 PM

Two thousand people rushed the entrance of Wal-Mart for that? Perhaps Wal-Mart got legitimately surprised by the response.

Indeed. The next part of baldi’s “Spirit of Evil” will be the massive lawsuits filed against Wal-Mart by dozens of new “victims”. That this part of our culture is so sick, I agree with 100%.

Jaibones on November 29, 2008 at 12:37 PM

America…..

It is no longer who you are but what you got.

Have fun eating that Incredible Hulk video.

Limerick on November 29, 2008 at 12:41 PM

Wal-Mart is not to blame, the people are. Their greed and lack of respect for their fellow man is despicable. Every Wal-Mart across this country and many other stores had events just like this. The only difference is the people and those people should be prosecuted and made an example of. Perhaps then, people might realize we are human beings and not animals.

jparks1972 on November 29, 2008 at 12:43 PM

Maybe Ed should re-ask yesterday’s question about whether America has learned its lesson about consumption.

BigD on November 29, 2008 at 12:47 PM

All the more reason to strengthen the pro-life movement. This demonstrates, in a herd mentality, collective callous indifference to human life.

whitetop on November 29, 2008 at 12:55 PM

With 2,000 people responding to the ads for Black Friday before the doors opened, Wal-Mart should have had a significant, trained security presence on hand. Rope lines should have been set up, instead of having people crushing up to the entrance.

* BINGO *

It takes all kinds to make a world, and as a retailer you invite them all in to shop…but that doesn’t suspend the responsibility to provide a safe shopping environment….

…I worked at Wal*Mart for a short time, and they’re very careful in teaching staff about spills, chemicals, etc…but this “running of the bulls” mentality, perhaps to heighten the excitement of a yearly “shopping experience” lends itself to injury, store damage, shoplifting, as well as this instance of actual trampling….

…this isn’t the Third World…we should expect, as citizens and as shoppers, to not have to step over human bodies to make our way to the electronics department…this doesn’t excuse the callous bastards who walked over Mr. Damour, who was a working stiff making (I can assure you) rock bottom wages…dying for retail shouldn’t be asked of anyone….

…I’d continue to try to find the heartless suckers who trampled the guy, even knowing that prosecutions will be tough in a weaselly “I was pushed” environment…but Wal*Mart needs to address this, full stop…and compensate the guy’s family….

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2008 at 12:55 PM

Stream is HOOD!

blatantblue on November 29, 2008 at 12:29 PM

Valley Stream is located near the eastern border of New York City, where corrupt unions have been successful at keeping Wal-Mart out. Other Wal-Mart stores surrounding NYC (Mohegan Lake and Fishkill to the north, Monroe and Middletown to the northwest, and New Jersey to the west) are also under a lot of extra pressure because Wal-Mart is unfairly prevented from opening up shop in NYC.

jay12 on November 29, 2008 at 12:56 PM

ernesto on November 29, 2008 at 12:01 PM

I live on LI, and my Grandma lives in the next town over

Stream is HOOD!

blatantblue on November 29, 2008 at 12:29 PM

And here I was thinking downtown Yonkers and Mount Vernon were hood…we (yonkers) have our shoddy neighborhoods but DAAAMN

ernesto on November 29, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Joe Biden hates WalMart

Kini on November 29, 2008 at 1:01 PM

Where’s all this money coming from?

Two possibilities:

1. Things aren’t as bad as many seem to think; or

2. Credit cards

Hopefully it’s the first. God help us if it’s the second.

Kensington on November 29, 2008 at 1:03 PM

China knows what suckers we are!

Bicyea on November 29, 2008 at 12:15 PM

…and we can thank the unions, the same vultures who’re trying to kill Wal*Mart outright unless they knuckle under, for what seems to be the bulk of manufacturing going to China…who can afford to employ people with the prospect of a UAW sweetheart-like deal in the offing?

…let Wal*Mart take this hit and institutionally correct the situation with more rational security in future…that would be a rational, measured response…let us not give these union thugs a stick to beat a private business with….

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2008 at 1:04 PM

Valley Stream is located near the eastern border of New York City, where corrupt unions have been successful at keeping Wal-Mart out.

The unions created an artificial shortage of WalMarts, thereby forcing this WalMart to handle more people than it could handle. Had there been more WalMarts, there would have been a more equal distribution of holiday shoppers and none of this would have happened.

dying for retail shouldn’t be asked of anyone….

Tragic and accidental deaths shouldn’t be asked of anyone. And yet, they happen. How many car accidents were there on the way to the malls yesterday? How many tragic deaths were there on the way to Thanksgiving dinners across the country. That shouldn’t have been asked of anyone.

This is a horrible thing that happened to this poor man, but it isn’t as if there has been a rash of trampling deaths at WalMarts and other retailers. It is about the inhumanity of crowds- this one in particular. Blaming WalMart just perpetuates the kind of society that believes it is always someone else’s fault, and thus behaves with little self-control.

MayBee on November 29, 2008 at 1:08 PM

Police may be able to identify a small number of them.

The only solace here is that God knows who every single one of those stampeders were who stepped on that poor man. In the end they will get theirs. They were probably laughing when they did it.

Disgusting.

Urban Infidel on November 29, 2008 at 1:09 PM

Walmart, K Mart, Shopping malls, Sam’s Club, and thousands of other retail outlets around the country and the reporter leaves with the question should Walmart have done a better job with crowd control? Maybe, just maybe bozo TV reporter it was the fault of those people instead of Walmart.

Jdripper on November 29, 2008 at 1:09 PM

This reminds me of the elderly man who was left for dead after getting run over on a crowded Hartford, CT street. This sort of thing could, honestly, happen anywhere. Those saying that it couldn’t happen where they live are deluding themselves. These sorts of incidents are merely the logical conclusion of our culture. A second Great Awakening is needed in order for things to change.

Send_Me on November 29, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Come on. Did anyone say the government should have provided security? Give me a break. Wal-Mart has a responsibility to provide for crowd control if they intend to stage “doorbuster” sales to keep things like this from happening.

But as was noted above, there was nothing especially significant about the sales being offered, so the question is whether Walmart could have reasonably predicted the riot that occurred.

PackerBronco on November 29, 2008 at 1:22 PM

And my anti-Wal-Mart in-laws on LI will just say, “See, Wal-Mart is evil and must be stopped.” And they and their friends will continue to shop at their little boutiques in their lily-white neighborhood and clap their hands when one of the best opportunities for the poor to shop and find employment is forced to close because of the flood of lawsuits. (What with the Obama win and this Wal-Mart disaster, I am just grateful we won’t be going there this Christmas.)

inmypajamas on November 29, 2008 at 1:32 PM

I’m sure if the police can find them, so will the ACLU. They will be made to be victims of the big bad Walmart. Nevermind, that other people around the country were able to behave themselves and kill anyone on their way into thousands of other Walmarts.

HornetSting on November 29, 2008 at 1:32 PM

I really hate the idea that we as a society just have to prosecute somebody over every tragedy that happens. Yes it is awful, but it wasn’t intentionally malicious. I really prefer the attitude of the Amish to situations like this, which is simply that sometimes, bad things just happen.

angelat0763 on November 29, 2008 at 1:34 PM

would it be inappropriate to release the footage? let america see who these monsters are?

as far as wal-mart is concerned (or any other retailer), how about putting up some stanchions, like at an amusement park ride, and some turnstiles to limit the amount of people that can come it at one time.

i guess then we’d just have people crushed against the turnstiles.

donny on November 29, 2008 at 1:34 PM

I really hate the idea that we as a society just have to prosecute somebody over every tragedy that happens. Yes it is awful, but it wasn’t intentionally malicious. I really prefer the attitude of the Amish to situations like this, which is simply that sometimes, bad things just happen.

angelat0763 on November 29, 2008 at 1:34 PM

You want to explain that to this man’s family, Angela. Better yet, let’s just fire all of the police and federal agents and give criminals a harsh look when the commit crime. That should take care of the problem. Yeah.

HornetSting on November 29, 2008 at 1:38 PM

Yo, I gots to get me one of them phat plasmas, outta my way fool!

Alden Pyle on November 29, 2008 at 1:47 PM

Jdripper on November 29, 2008 at 1:09 PM

…there’s one undertone perhaps it’s my libertarian paranoia makes it possible for me to discern: that these “unwashed masses” outrages (mobs, trampling, group think) are presented by the establishment press as a way of saying:

“When given their head, peasants are disgusting, loud, violent and tend not to vote correctly…so we must see that they are controlled.”

…there’s somehow been introduced, perhaps through academia, an ethic that “the natives can’t be trusted with freedom”…that’s after all the essence of socialism, that the masses can’t be trusted with organizing their lives…which is why they’re called “masses”….

…don’t mind me…I’m always on the lookout for arrogance on the part of those who would be my “betters”….

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2008 at 1:51 PM

Suppose it had been an all white mob crowd that rushed the doors at Walmart and overran a black worker and killed him, how would the black community react?

But in this case a black man was not overrun by an all-white rabid holiday shoppers, instead the dead/dying man was filmed by somebody with a couple of people laughing in the background about the whole horrid scene that took place.

Check out CNN’s recent talk on who bears the responsibility. The police? Walmart? Will this be legislated in the future to prevent tragedies like this? We all hear stories how shoppers physically fought each other over last remaining items on sale.

Kokonut on November 29, 2008 at 1:56 PM

There will be hundreds of lawsuits to come out of this tragedy and some of the will by brought by the guilty. They will claim mental anguish, PTSD or some other ambulance chasing excuse.

thomasaur on November 29, 2008 at 2:00 PM

Something like this was bound to happen. Maybe it’s time all retailers are forced to address this issue. Every year retailers roll the dice that personal injury to their customers will not occur.

In 1979, 11 people were killed at a rock concert in the U.S. city of Cincinnati. The fans were crushed in a stampede for the best seats at a general admission concert by The Who.

But Walmart didn’t learn from last years experiences.

The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday- the day for stores to open their doors to bargain shoppers looking for holiday discounts.

Two years ago it was more than a discount that Cecelia Brannen found. She and her husband were at the Wal-Mart in Starke trying to buy a laptop computer for their daughter.

Cecelia was second in line, things looked good. Then she was pushed and pushed until she landed under a pile of bodies and feet.

Now instead of saving $100, she’s spent $100,000 on medical bills.

The Brannens have sued Wal-Mart for its failure to control the crowds. Cecelia says they should have handed out tickets to the first people on line.

“The next thing I know I was on the floor in the fetal position praying to God that somebody would find me. They stepped on my thighs, my breast, on my shoulders. I had bruises all over my body.

Ronald Brannen calls it America’s version of running with the bulls.

Today Cecelia says she is in constant pain and walks with a cane. Her attorney, Charles Sorenson, says he has handled several similar cases against the giant retailler. All usually settle out of court with a confidentiality clause. Sorenson believes for every once lawsuit, ten go unreported.

In a statement Wal-Mart released to First Coast News it says, “The safety and security of customers and associates is a top priority at Wal-Mart. We have enhanced our training and procedures to help prevent unforeseen circumstances, however rare. We also have scheduled additional staff to help ensure that our customers’ shopping experience is as smooth as possible.”

Zaire67 on November 29, 2008 at 2:00 PM

Oh, and a question here.

Will the shoppers who were involved in the stampede and the death of a Walmart employee feel guilty about the whole thing?

Probably not.

Kokonut on November 29, 2008 at 2:01 PM

With 2,000 people responding to the ads for Black Friday before the doors opened, Wal-Mart should have had a significant, trained security presence on hand.

So we can’t expect people to conduct themselves in a calm and civil manner. We need a whip and chair to keep them at bay and under control? I can understand the arguement that WalMart could have handled this better. But Walmart employees have a reasonable expectation from the shopping public not to be killed when unlocking the store doors.

WalMart is not to blame. If Walmart had taken too many steps, then they would be violating civil rights of individuals. I’m no fan of WalMart, they sell very little U.S. made goods, as a importer of goods WalMart ranks 5th amongst individual countries. WalMart provides low skill and low paying jobs, that’s their big contribution. I don’t shop there myself.

Hog Wild on November 29, 2008 at 2:02 PM

I live in westchester county, NYC’s northern suburb, and i had NO IDEA Valley Stream was such a hood place. I mean, did people see those pictures? Straight hood…LI fell offff

I live in Nassau, down by Jones Beach, and as I’m sure you know, driving from some parts of Valley Stream, Elmont, Hempstead, etc into places like Massapequa Park is like traveling into another world. Besides, I bet half of those people flooded in from Brooklyn or Queens.

Rainsford on November 29, 2008 at 2:06 PM

It all comes down to math and the bottom line. Large corporations could care less about safety as long as their profits aren’t affected, The death of a doorman is “meh” unless his relatives win a lawsuit for millions of dollars.

They will already have talking points about how expensive security is, and how much they do to ensure the safety of their customers.

Walmart is probably gleeful about how much publicity they have gotten, and giddy over the apperance of desirability of their sales.

Rode Werk on November 29, 2008 at 2:07 PM

These are the items that were on sale at this store on Friday: a Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV for $798, a Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28, a Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera for $69 and DVDs such as “The Incredible Hulk” for $9.

Name me just one of these items, just one, that were worth the cost of a man’s life.

You guys say good luck finding the people who stomped on this guy on Friday? I say find just one of them and make an example of them!

And while we’re at it, maybe it’s time to rethink the stupidity of even having something like a Black Friday.

pilamaye on November 29, 2008 at 2:07 PM

inmypajamas on November 29, 2008 at 1:32 PM

…it isn’t so much that “the poor” who shop at Wal*Mart…if that were the case, the Left would have to break out the pretzel logic they’re known for to oppose it…it’s that the folks, those careful with their pennies, and who are steeped in the ethic of “good enough”….

…in addition to the entire “unions must be obeyed” drama, the idea of penalizing the successful to somehow save the “mom and pop” boutiques smacks of the most irritating part of living in Europe: the British love shopping malls, but “protect” their “high street” shops (read: old, impractical boutiques) by zoning, the Germans limit hours all shops can be open (until 6PM weekly, and only ’til noon on Saturdays when we lived there) to limit “unfair” competition with their less profitable, more specialized places. Many Germans and Brits, careful with their pennies and euros, love Wal*Mart-type shops, and Wal*Mart has a presence in both places…but they also have some of the most repulsive unions this side of France, and the “pampered housecat” ethic engendered by the smarmy socialism of Western Europe…in short, they trust their government, and more their civil “servants”, a great deal more than we do here.

I mention Britain and Germany because I’ve lived “on the economy” in both places…I can’t speak to France, Belgium, Spain, Scandinavia, or the now-liberated old East Bloc countries.

…the socialists (read: Obamaites) want to turn us into a pale reflection of Europe, anyway…so it’s good to keep an eye on how they’re screwing things up over in the EU….

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2008 at 2:07 PM

They should have locked down the store and not let anyone leave until they identified and charged everyone of those people with manslaughter.

bj1126 on November 29, 2008

Yeah,,, peer pressure would have identified at least a few of the murderers.
We have been to some of these events in our own town,, they are nothing like this turned out to be. People are excited and the crowds are big,, but it is nothing like this mob. It comes down to the people. I was in Gander Mountain again today,, store was full. At the gun counter and buying ammo,, people are saying “Excuse me” and Thank you” and “Oh sorry, my fault,” though it was wall to wall people.

JellyToast on November 29, 2008 at 2:09 PM

…it isn’t so much that “the poor” who shop at Wal*Mart…if that were the case, the Left would have to break out the pretzel logic they’re known for to oppose it…it’s that the folks, those careful with their pennies, and who are steeped in the ethic of “good enough”….

I live in a small town where Walmart is the only game in town. The rich, the poor, everyone shops there. No choice.
However, there is a difference between “the poor” and these “hoodlums that are poor”.

HornetSting on November 29, 2008 at 2:11 PM

Yo, I gots to get me one of them phat plasmas, outta my way fool!

Alden Pyle on November 29, 2008 at 1:47 PM

Thanks for identifying the elephant in the room.

Face it, this element of American society has been bred for a couple of generations now.

Yes, Walmart will be sued, deep pockets and all, and probably the only pockets they’ll be able to fine. Sounds to me like perhaps this particular store was expecting to be catering to their usual clientel and wasn’t up to speed on the type of clientel outside that door.

Texas Gal on November 29, 2008 at 2:12 PM

And while we’re at it, maybe it’s time to rethink the stupidity of even having something like a Black Friday.

pilamaye on November 29, 2008 at 2:07 PM

…it’s retail, and often fun for shoppers, and has a long, long tradition…not only on “Black Friday”, but during other parts of the year….

…for the retailer, it’s a real money-spinner, as shoppers come in for the $800 TV, but end up (in Wal*Mart’s case) buying roasting pans, socks, diapers and other stuff.

…Filene’s basement, when I lived up in Yankee-land in the early ’80′s had long been known for sales where stereotypically women had cat-fights over brassieres…it was sort of a point of local civic pride, similar to Boston’s pride in the waitresses at the “Durgin Park” restaurant being rude, and similar to New York’s left-handed pride in dishonest cabbies, Los Angeles pride in their freeways, and Seattle’s pride in bad weather….

…so, rather than “off with their heads”, an attitude of “let’s handle the specific problem” would allow what many regard as an unsympathetic, “rich and powerful” retailer (Americans instinctively and irrationally hate the successful, and the Left preys on that) to continue to have their profitable sales safely….

…oh…and teaching Long Island Yankees some manners wouldn’t go amiss….

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2008 at 2:14 PM

If this had happened at several Wal*Marts across the country, then I can see a case for Ed’s argument that Wal*Mart holds some responsibility.

I tbelieve there are a few other locations across the country, and none of them had this happen. That’s an implication of these ghetto-minded idiots. Not Wal*Mart.

yomomma on November 29, 2008 at 2:15 PM

Involuntary manslaughter comes to mind and possible accessory to murder. Surely the folks trampling over this guy must have heard him scream or could have seen the people in front of them trampling over him, but most likely not. I realize people can be shoved from behind and have no choice but to go forward and I am sure it was loud. Nonetheless a man is dead.

A persons life over $10 off of a cellphone or a ‘buy one get one free’ set of xmas lights.

Show the video. Show it. People will recognize one another.
And show them checking out at the register too. Goodness sakes we’re all on camera enough. Maybe use it for the people’s good instead of the store’s good or the government spying all the damn time.

If someone would have walked out with a TV set, they’d have them ehind bars by now. Give the man’s family some justice.

johnnyU on November 29, 2008 at 2:15 PM

They were just getting their “thug-thizzle” on.

yomomma on November 29, 2008 at 2:16 PM

Yep, I don’t think any criminal charge could ever stand up in front of the jury. Unless there was something clear on the video which demonstrated intent to kill, intent to cause great bodily injury, or extreme reckless disregard with the victim’s life. (I could blab on about what that last one means as far as precedent, but it’s early.) PERHAPS, failing these murder tests, they could try manslaughter, but there again, who on earth do you charge?

I’d fully expect, however, to see a lawsuit of Wal-Mart.

This has negligence written all over it, and they of course, have much deeper pockets than these…misguided individuals. (Being diplomatic.)

Hawkins1701 on November 29, 2008 at 2:19 PM

HornetSting on November 29, 2008 at 2:11 PM

…agreed, and we live in an area where Wal*Mart is not only almost “the only game in town”, but is the “employer of last resort”…I’ve worked with the store manager there, and she’s a gem…the workplace and the shopping atmosphere is very friendly and straight-forward, and the corporate ethic is very conducive to folks getting what they want…what retailer can ask more?

…in short, they’re the world’s most successful retailer for a reason….

…back in the day, the big retailers to the current “Wal*Mart crowd” were Sears, KMart, Penneys, and some regional retailers…Sears and KMart seem to’ve made bad retail and corporate decisions, and folks have migrated to Wal*Mart and have taken their wallets with them….

…people shop where they like the goods and like the store…and Wal*Mart supplies that today…I wonder, under an Obama administration with big, floppy ears open to the corrupt culture of unionism, how long it’ll take to cripple a successful retailer….

…success, after all, in a culture which fascinated by underachievers, as socialism does, is a crime akin to apostasy in religion….

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2008 at 2:21 PM

…people shop where they like the goods and like the store…and Wal*Mart supplies that today…I wonder, under an Obama administration with big, floppy ears open to the corrupt culture of unionism, how long it’ll take to cripple a successful retailer….

…success, after all, in a culture which fascinated by underachievers, as socialism does, is a crime akin to apostasy in religion….

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2008 at 2:21 PM

Good question.

And try they will, won’t they?

I always am perplexed by the harsh rhetoric against Wal-Mart by some of their employees, and of course, by their willing legal stooges.

If it really is such an abominable entity towards its employees……LEAVE, and GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. Who’s forcing you to work there?

As you said, Wal-Mart is successful for a reason.

Hawkins1701 on November 29, 2008 at 2:26 PM

………….. and may they all have a very Merry Christmas!

Seven Percent Solution on November 29, 2008 at 2:27 PM

As of this past Monday I now work for Wal-Mart at the Home Office in Bentonville and naturally I don’t find us responsible. WM has policies and procedures for everything and I can guarantee you that this WM made all crowd control preparations per policies as did all the other WM’s. This incident is indicative of the population segment this WM served. The same segment that got into a shoot out in Toys R Us. I’ve lived in Memphis and Little Rock and am very familiar with the savage, rude, obnoxious, aggressive behavior of blacks. Unfortunately they give a very bad name to otherwise decent black people, many of whom I know professionally, who also find this tragedy and the underlying pathologies driving it quite disgusting.

DerKrieger on November 29, 2008 at 2:28 PM

I certainly hope that we have learned a lesson. Perhaps next year, stores can use common feeder lines like you see at Disneyland or Six Flags to prevent the stampede. Allowing only a few customers to enter at a time could also prevent the major rush to get inside. I think with just a little planning stores can stop the maddness.

mindhacker on November 29, 2008 at 2:29 PM

Involuntary manslaughter comes to mind and possible accessory to murder.

johnnyU on November 29, 2008 at 2:15 PM

…let’s not start throwing around legal terms…and then trying the people involved with them….

…if I’m not mistaken, murder involves premeditation, which would mean that the big-footed monsters who trampled the guy set out to stomp someone…maybe that might’ve been the case with the first two or three guys, but the rest probably just herded along….

…manslaughter, again as I understand it, is sort of a “whoops, I killed someone” affair…something you did killed someone, and you have to be held responsible for your actions, intentional or no….

…involuntary manslaughter, I think, is a species of manslaughter, a bit down the food chain prosecutorially, putting the mindset of the perpetrator further down the food chain, as well….

…in short, Wal*Mart seems culpable for not taking sufficient precautions to control entry into their store…they, and every retailer careful about “shrinkage” (shoplifting by another term) controls the entrances/exits to their stores…and still have mooks who steal DVDs out of their boxes on display, still pocket costume jewelry, still steal socks and underwear, etc…so, regulating the entranceon a big shopping event is as much a responsibility to shoppers as regulating the exit of shoppers anytime is to the bottom line of the folks holding Wal*Mart’s leash in Arkansas….

…the big-footed folks who stomped the guy in question seem to be, to a greater or lesser extent, guilty of some species of manslaughter…and certainly need to be held up as individuals and as a town as heartless, selfish bastards….

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2008 at 2:29 PM

I don’t mean to trivialize the poor man’s death, but why do I know I will see this headline every single year? Google “trampled” and look at all the stories. The U.S. media, along with other countries, wait with bated breath for these tragedies.
How many thousands of shoppers would report that they had a great time with family or friends, and are glad they saved some money? Isn’t that news if the economy is so bad?
We haven’t even heard the actual cause of death and this is how we’ve defined yesterday’s shopping event around the world.

WaltDakota on November 29, 2008 at 2:30 PM

Certainly not Wal-Mart’s fault, but I’m sure they’ll be the ones to get sued if when a civil suit is filed here simply because they have the most money. ***
malan89 on November 29, 2008 at 12:05 PM

I know I’m going to sound like a liberal here, so let me preface my remarks by saying I’m a defense-oriented litigator and don’t generally expanding tort liability for businesses. But with that said, even I look at this and say Wal-Mart should be held accountable.

The question one asks in tort law is, where can you pin liability in a way to most efficiently reduce the risk/costs of accidents and injury. In this case, I think Wal-Mart was in the best position to reduce or eliminate the risk of stampedes. It didn’t do so, and it should be held liable.

Wal-Mart stores have had stampedes on many occasions: this isn’t the first. It’s a brutal fact, but you have a lot of poor, not-well-bred people who frequent Wal-Marts. You also have a general frenzied atmosphere that comes with these “special” 5:00 am sales that affects all customers, whether poor, rich, not-well-bred, or well-bred. When you put all of that in a big pot and stir it up, you create a dangerous situation.

A store owner has a well-known legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of customers on their premises. No, store owners are not liable for most criminal acts committed on their premises — but an exception ought to exist here. Wal-Mart created a frenzy outside its doors by advertising time-limited, special discounts on popular items. These stampedes have happened on many occasions under similar circumstances, both to Wal-Mart and to other retailers. But other retailers, such as Best Buy and Target, said “uh oh, this is dangerous, we better do something about it,” and implemented rope-lines, security officers, and ticket systems to prevent stampedes.

But Wal-Mart is cheap and sees that as extra overhead that skims their profits. That’s fine, and Wal-Mart’s famous cheapness is one of the reasons why it’s profitable. But if Wal-Mart doesn’t want to spend $5,000 to prevent the harm, it should be forced to pay for the harm it causes.

Outlander on November 29, 2008 at 2:31 PM

I always am perplexed by the harsh rhetoric against Wal-Mart by some of their employees, and of course, by their willing legal stooges.

Hawkins1701 on November 29, 2008 at 2:26 PM

…maybe it’s a regional thing…I worked at the local Wal*Mart for a short time (maybe three months), and heard less griping about the store than about our individual boss, who was a bit of a tyrant…the managers above her up to the store manager were some of the best folks I’ve ever worked for in nearly forty years in the workforce….

…some people grap hold of a grievance and don’t let go…and, to my knowledge, Wal*Mart doesn’t impress workers, or hold them in legirons once employed…you don’t like it there, move along…as I did…I have bad knees, and standing around was crippling me up…so I made an informed, personal decision to go, and still shop there weekly, happily and with gusto….

…after all, it’s the local Wal*Mart….

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2008 at 2:35 PM

It’s a brutal fact, but you have a lot of poor, not-well-bred people who frequent Wal-Marts. You also have a general frenzied atmosphere that comes with these “special” 5:00 am sales that affects all customers, whether poor, rich, not-well-bred, or well-bred. When you put all of that in a big pot and stir it up, you create a dangerous situation.

…I take issue with the whole “Wal*Mart shopper” stereotype being toss about here and in the press…”not-well-bred” people make up the bulk of the electorate this side of suburbia…and include many people in suburbia, as well…this election season, in the person of Sarah Palin, has seen a lot of people, thinking themselves producers of odor-free excrement, p*ssing downstream generally on neighbors (mostly distant neighbors) who’re somehow not up to their standards….

…in some cases, it takes the usual route of noticing that some in the crowd photos are rather more tanned than the folks they went to college with…and in other cases, it is a general turning-up of the nose at people who didn’t go to college at all….

…in short, the union/Lefty tendency to use social snobbishness to stir the pot containing their natural audience is here in spades….

…but you’re exactly right as to liability and reason for the liability…the guys at that Wal*Mart, and Wal*Mart generally needs to take this incident to heart and not throttle back on good shopping opportunities, which these events are (if you’re not working them, which I have), but make some effort at crowd control….

No, store owners are not liable for most criminal acts committed on their premises — but an exception ought to exist here.

…consider something: what if, instead of a stampede, the guy’d been shot by a customer, either as the direct target of an enflamed shopper or as a bystander? What about the liability for injuries arising from a fist fight over products on offer? That’s surely not the fault of the store.

…the only culpability I see Wal*Mart having in this case is falling down on initial entry crowd control…and, maybe in that specific neighborhood (the store manager’s call), roving security tasked with crowd control, not shoplifting control….

…otherwise, it’s all a debate over the atmosphere in and business practices of what folks are taking to be a deep-pockets, successful retailer…and I’m rather tired of folks feeling as if the successful owe them something…buy your diapers and move along, buddy….

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2008 at 2:47 PM

yomomma on November 29, 2008 at 2:15 PM

There was a similar incident, thought not fatal, at a Wal-Mart in northern Michigan. It was never reported.

Also at that store was a report of an adult ‘snatching’ an XBox360 out of the hands of a kid who had worked, and saved his money to make the purchase.

You are aware of the report of two dead, by gunfire, at a Toys R Us?

Happy Holidays.

Skandia Recluse on November 29, 2008 at 2:57 PM

I hope Walmart offers a generous settlement to the poor man’s family. It would be a compassionate response to the horror experienced by the deceased man. I cannot find WalMart guilty anymore than the other merchants who also encourage shoppers with a few bargains. The people who behaved so savagely are the ones to blame. What merchant anticipates the doors being ripped off by civilized people?
I shop Walmart all the time and find most of my needs at reasonable price. The clerks are helpful and appear happy.
Of course I live in a small town in flyover country where decency remains common and people continue to have some respect for each other. I am here by choice after having lived the big city life, including NYC.

Pat in NC on November 29, 2008 at 3:01 PM

You might not be able to convict on a homicide charge, but what about a rioting charge? I don’t know if rioting can be a felony, but if it can be the charge ought to be pursued. And since, apparently, potential witnesses did not stick around to talk to the police, how about an obstruction of justice charge?

I presume they are going through the records to find the people who bought things there using credit and debit cards.

njcommuter on November 29, 2008 at 3:02 PM

Puritan1648 on November 29, 2008 at 2:47 PM

Couple points in response:

1. I don’t begrudge Wal-Mart customers. But let’s face it – Wal-Mart is a discount retailer. Like all discount retailers, it attracts customers who are willing to trade off brand variety and other elements of shopping experience for a better bottom-line price. Many of those customers are lower income. And you tend to find a lot of social maladies amongst lower income people at a higher rate than you do among other income strata. It’s just a fact. Matter of fact, I’m willing to bet that Wal-Mart spends more on shoplifting control than higher-end supermarkets, department stores, and other retailers. Why might that be?

2. Yes, Wal-Mart’s “culpability” in this situation was failing to do crowd control in anything approaching a reasonable manner. The press report suggested only a few Wal-Mart store employees handling crowd control–no professional security, no rope lines, no tickets, no nothing. And while you seem to marginalize the culpability, the fact is that stampedes are a known risk at these kinds of sales, Wal-Mart dropped the ball, and you now have two dead bodies (deceased store employee and miscarried 8-month fetus) and three additional injuries.

Outlander on November 29, 2008 at 3:06 PM

Well, of course, it’s Walmart’s fault. It always is. And Bush’s fault, and Sarah Palin’s, too, no doubt. /sarc

Just wait for the PTSD-related lawsuits to begin–from the mob who caused the tragedy in the first place. You know it’s just a matter of time.

As the previous poster(s) noted, is it just too #$%^ much to ask that human beings behave humanly these days? Sadly, that pparently is so, which is why I do as much shopping as possible online.

NTXLass on November 29, 2008 at 3:11 PM

I worked for Wal-mart for 6 months and my immediate supervisors, including the Store Manager, were all good people.

In this case, the Store Manager should have realized the situation and his clientel and had extra security posted.

However, that in no way excuses the “people” (and I use that term loosely) who caused this tragedy for their personal responsibilities. Regardless of their personal economic position, these individuals should not have acted like a bunch of animals.

kingsjester on November 29, 2008 at 3:15 PM

kingsjester on November 29, 2008 at 3:15 PM

Stop. Jester. You are making too much sense. :)

HornetSting on November 29, 2008 at 3:20 PM

***Regardless of their personal economic position, these individuals should not have acted like a bunch of animals.
kingsjester on November 29, 2008 at 3:15 PM
Change is coming to this country, my friend. It’s a reason why people are stocking up on firearms.

Outlander on November 29, 2008 at 3:23 PM

I can’t help but wonder how many thousands of WalMart stores around the country had the same deals yesterday and yet did not have fatalities as a result.

Sorry Ed, I just don’t buy the WalMart is to blame deal.

conservnut on November 29, 2008 at 3:23 PM

Let’s just name this ugly thing what it is …. it’s new age Obamerism. NAO if you will. Water-walking light at Wal-Mart (WWLAW). A convergence of Obamamorons & self-promoting nanny media.
 
A grand display indeed of all the morons encouraged by the media to demonstrate their intelligence by waiting all night long for the long awaited, endlessly reported BLACK FRIDAY sales.
 
Did I mention reported incessantly by endless media narcissists as “news”? (One of my local ex-princess-ex-beauty pageant-winner-TV traffic bimbo is reporting parking lot updates every 10 #@*+#$* minutes!)
 
Hey these possessed, out of control, thug shoppers might get their mug on TB and say something really profound and the TB media can then report it as news!
 
Apparently they collectively mis-heard that Wal-Mart was giving merchandise away free …. you know just like the government deal they received for their no account mortgages, student loans, car loans, payday loans, etc., etc.
 
Liberal Valley Stream L.I. just a stones throw down the road from the liberal Obamaland known as Hempstead. Sounds like many Obama voters may have participated in this event.
 
Any finger pointing should be directed squarely at the unruly crowd of Obamathugs and of course, the always self-promoting, the end justifies the means, do whatever it takes to manufacture a media event, narcissist media.
 
My condolences to the man’s family who unfortunately lost his life attempting to do his job.

jaaakemm on November 29, 2008 at 3:25 PM

HornetSting on November 29, 2008 at 3:20 PM

Yeah, I know. Those clowns over at MSNBC will probably say that if Wal-Mart was unionized, or better yet, did not exist, this would never have happened. Or course, they would be ignoring the Toys-R-US shooting in California.

But don’t worry, after Jan. 20, there won’t be these problems. We won’t have any money to go shopping with. It will be spread around. /sarc off (I hope.)

kingsjester on November 29, 2008 at 3:30 PM

But don’t worry, after Jan. 20, there won’t be these problems. We won’t have any money to go shopping with. It will be spread around. /sarc off (I hope.)

kingsjester on November 29, 2008 at 3:30 PM

The sky will be bluer, the sun will shine brighter, and everyone on this dear Earth will get along.
Yeah, Jan. 20 is gonna be a riot. Literally. Four million Obamanots in one place. Can’t wait. Buying loads of popcorn for the spectacle.

HornetSting on November 29, 2008 at 3:33 PM

HornetSting on November 29, 2008 at 3:33 PM

I hope somebody mobilizes the National Guard for the Coronation, I mean the Inauguration. I think they will be needed.

kingsjester on November 29, 2008 at 3:35 PM

HornetSting on November 29, 2008 at 3:33 PM

I hope somebody mobilizes the National Guard for the Coronation, I mean the Inauguration. I think they will be needed.

kingsjester on November 29, 2008 at 3:35 PM

I don’t want our brave men and women of the National Guard in the middle of that sh*tpile. Let them tear each other apart.

HornetSting on November 29, 2008 at 3:37 PM

I used to work for walmart I had great coworkers and yeah walmart could have had better security, but like jester had said that does not leave those people without excuse. I live in Kentucky and now work at a meijer and have not seen that kinda thing where I work at.

Christiangothkitty on November 29, 2008 at 3:39 PM

Christiangothkitty on November 29, 2008 at 3:39 PM

It’s a difference in culture. Even those whose parent(s) tried to raise them right, can give in to the group mentality thing. From what I’m seeing on this thread, that store was not far from Thug Central.

Some “people” think its cooler to show their Thuggery than their Humanity.

I’m just sayin’…

kingsjester on November 29, 2008 at 3:48 PM

these people sure know what christmas is all about
/sarc
bet 99% voted for HMIC
head moonbat in charge

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on November 29, 2008 at 3:59 PM

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